Tips to Off-Camera Flash

Y’all I’m layin’ it down! Here’s a guide to Off-Camera flash, because I get that sometimes it’s super tricky.

When using your DSLR flash camera in low light, it can be tempting to use the on-camera flash. But if you have, you’ve seen the ghastly results: a washed-out subject with harsh shadows and it’s just not the best.

The best way to fix this is with an off-camera flash.

Don’t be scared– if you’re looking for DSLR camera help, I got you!
An off-camera flash has three components:

  • Your speedlight or flash

  • Trigger

  • DSLR flash camera

A speedlight is a flash that connects to your camera’s hotshoe (the metal square on the top of your camera). These usually use batteries and are quite an affordable option. If you’re a studio photographer, you might choose a large flash (that plugs into an outlet) on a stand.

To move your speedight off your camera or use a stand flash, you’ll need to connect them so the flash goes off when you snap your photo. Stand flashes have a small master that slides into your hotshoe and lets you control the flash wirelessly.

Perhaps the biggest benefit of using an off-camera flash is the control it gives you over your lighting. Do you want it under your subject, shining upwards for dramatic light? Or do you want softer side light? You can also point the flash away from the subject to bounce it off a wall or a reflector.

When working with flashes indoors and outdoors, a light meter can give you so much DSLR  help.

To use a light meter, you’ll need to start by putting your camera in manual mode; this gives you control of the shutter speed (how fast the shutter closes) and aperture (how wide or narrow the “pupil” of your camera is).

Shutter speed is usually listed as a fraction, as it’s a fraction of a second. Aperture readings are also called F-stops; they’re usually listed as f/ and then a number, like f/3.5. Check what these are on the camera and put them into the light meter.
A light meter will read the light coming from your flash and the light in the room and tell you where to put your shutter and aperture to get a good exposure.

They’re usually devices smaller than an iPhone. You hold it right in front of your subject with the white dome facing the camera and press the measure button. Then take the new readings on the meter and change your camera to match.

There is no shortage of DSLR camera help for those who want to work with off-camera flashes. When all else fails, check the manual for your camera and your light! You’ll find them illuminating ; )


If you want some more Photography Tips make sure to check out my post on Understanding Metering Modes om your DSLR.

Until next time, stay inspired.


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Jana Williams

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